Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jumping into 2012!

The other day I found an old set of goals in a book and was so impressed with my accomplishments! As a former lululemon employee and an education master's graduate, I find goal setting so important and rewarding. Our goals, according to many theories, need to be measureable, written in the present moment and positive. For example, one of my goals was: open a yoga studio by November 2011. As my mindset has changed, and I did begin a not for profit yoga organization, I would consider that an accomplished goal.

The best part of my old list is that I accomplished half of my goals! The other half either fell by the wayside or were goals that no longer pertained to my life. The intention of goal setting is to accomplish approximately half of your goals by your set deadline. If we accomplish more than half, our list was not full of challenging and difficult goals. If we do not accomplish at least half of our goals, we are either lazy or we set our bar too high.

In order to accomplish goals we need to set our goals in measureable stages. To open a business, you first need a business background, a support team, a location and/or space, and money. If you set timely and approproate goals like: "I will have saved $5,000 for my new venture by November 2012" it will be a stepping stone to your big picture goal. If we start off with just our big picture goal, with nothing to guide us in between, we often get ourselves off track.

New Years is a wonderful time to do goal setting. I am a huge fan of setting goals as I believe it helps create reality from our dreams and ideas. I also believe that it gives us something to work towards and something to look forward to once we have accomplished our goal.

Every year on New Years Eve, I buy a beautiful card. Inside this card I write a list of 25-30 things I want to do that year. Some of them are actual goals (finish my master's degree, begin Journey to Hope), while others are more fun or adventures (take a cooking class, get more mani/pedis, ride an elephant)! For me, this list is so much better than a New Year's resolution. While most resolutions last an average of 6-8 weeks, my card sits on my desk reminding me of all the fun goals and adventures I want to have completed in a particular year!

This upcoming years list is full of so many goodies: dive in Kay Largo, do something I'm afraid of, do another yoga teacher certification, do the clean program, road trip, attend Omega's service conference for Journey to Hope, learn to make artichokes...and much, much more!

I am personally so excited to see what 2012 brings us! I feel this year I will grow professionally and personally in leaps and bounds. So whether your New Year's Eve tradition consists of eating 12 grapes as fast as you can from 12:00-12:01 wishing on each one, or it involves taking a yoga class as you enter into 2012....or whatever YOUR tradition, or evening brings you - I wish you wellness, health and growth this year. I am so excited to have this organization, yoga & goal setting to share with you! I encourage you to make your own lists. Challenge yourself this year while having a blast as well!!

Happy, Happy New Year!!!!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Magical Mondays

Our Christmas Tree!Our Christmas Tree!
This is one of my most blessed Magical Mondays to date! We had an amazing first Christmas as a married couple, and were able to spend time with both families. I couldn’t have been more blessed with an amazing family and an amazing husband <3

I got an instax fujifilm camera and was snapping fun polaroid pictures all day long, as well as yoga books, yoga calendar, yoga clothes, regular clothes and much more. Hubby got tickets to the Patriots game next Sunday and he was so excited and honored that my parents were able to give him this gift. I got the hubby a year worth of date nights and am so excited to go on our first one soon!!

The new year is approaching and Journey to Hope has so much to look forward to. This year we will expand and triple in size by the end of January. I am so excited to finally say that we will be in the following locations:

We have two benefits coming up, so save the dates! January 4th @ 6pm at Busy Bodies in Marston Mills and February 3rd @ 6pm at The Moving Meditation in West Yarmouth. By donation, fun music, fun and fast paced flow!

I am in the process of placing our volunteers, finishing our tax documents and writing grants. Busy, busy, busy – but couldn’t be more excited to see this community embrace our mission!

I hope your Monday is just as magical today, and that you are able to keep that holiday spirit with you throughout the whole year – not just this week!!

Now...get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Finding Balance

A drishti is a concentration point, an inatimate object to concentrate on while you are in a balancing pose. I stress inanimate because, as I explain to my students – I move! Do not watch a yoga instructor during balancing poses, as we are just as likely to fall out of them as you are.

Balance is something that many beginning students find challenging. I am often hearing “I can’t do yoga because I am not flexible and I have no balance.” Of course you can do yoga! Yoga isn’t flexibility of the body, but of the mind. Balance doesn’t just involve our physical bodies, but our mental bodies as well. When we begin yoga, we are able to connect mind and body as one – and learn to balance from within.

My dad has a great theory on life – the triangle theory. We need to be able to balance our lives to make time for friends, family and work (the 3 points of his triangle). Each person has a different shape and different priorities, but the concept stays the same. In order to find happiness, we need to find balance among our interests, desires and needs.

My brother and I have been hearing this theory all of our lives, and it wasn’t until my wedding that I put extra thought into it what he was saying. I have (almost) always been able to find balance. So when one of my husbands’ friends heard the theory for the first time at our wedding, I was a bit shocked to see his awe and inspiration. Balance was something he was trying to find in his own world and he was grateful for my father’s words.

As I mentioned, balance isn’t just found in warrior 1, tree pose or airplane, but in our mental beings as well as our physical bodies. When we have a bad day, nothing is lining up right – boss was yelling, fought with a loved one – you may not find balance in a physical pose. While it is hard to unite mind and body on a conscious level, we are always united on a subconscious level, constantly working together to find either resistance or harmony.

Through yoga we are able to unite mind, body & spirit on a conscious level. (Spirit, meaning breath in almost all ancient languages – among many other translations). This balance, similar to my dads triangle, will help us in our practice and in our everyday lives. When I have an off day (which does happen sometimes), I try my best to remember to keep my balance. However, if I slip: cry, yell, scream, vent out every negative emotion – I know I am purging the negative to make proper space for new forms of positivity. Occasional bad days are a gift. In the moment, we feel as though everything is falling apart – like things will never be balanced. But, if we invite in the challenge and release the negativity, we are able to find proper balance the following morning.
This time of year is the darkest and coldest in my part of the world. We need to work extra hard to find balance and consciously unite mind, body & spirit! In doing so, we release darkness and find light.

May you find your own form of balance, love and light during this winter solstice.

Get out there – do yoga & make your life sparkle!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank You!

Today I am writing with such enormous amounts of joy! Journey to Hope has grown to be a legitimate community business and I couldn’t be more proud of our organization: board members, volunteers & advocates! Since August, we have had two benefit classes, trained 7 lovely volunteers, had a board meeting and much, much more. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see my dreams turning into realities.

 As a child, I never knew exactly what I wanted to be – other than a leader. Princess. Figure skater. Horse jockey. Vet. Dolphin trainer….. When I started my undergraduate degree, I was equally confused.  I was a journalism major to begin with, and graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, and a double minor in English and education. Indecisive much?

Nothing fit. Everything felt good, but nothing felt great. I wanted to be like so many of my girlfriends, who had always known what they wanted to be: zoo keeper, vet, dancer and more. When I found yoga, something clicked inside. I went on to finish my master’s degree in education, as it was the “right thing to do.” I needed a “real job,” so my yoga teacher training would be for a fun side job – yeah right! 

While I was finishing my degree and moving out of my childhood home (to be with my hubby!), and wedding planning – I was fully expecting to find a job as a school teacher. Little did I know that there was another, much bigger plan, in the works. My job search kept being put off and I found myself employed for the summer at two wonderful studios: Power Yoga of Cape Cod & The Moving Meditation. I made almost no money while we planned for our wedding – but Ifinally felt that I was in a job, no, a career where I wanted to stay and grow. Something finally fit.

One afternoon in August, I went to the West Dennis Library to inquire about hanging my for profit business cards on their bulletin board. They explained to me that they only hung non-profit and community flyers. Completely organically, I said “I’m starting a non-profit!” In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted Journey to Hope exist, but not until that moment did I turn my dreams and desires into action and reality. That first step inspired me to make us a legal non-profit and embark upon the most amazing journey of my life! I am so proud to be the leader of this amazing business – watching our volunteers excitement and our students growth!

Thank you to each and every one of you who believe in the Journey to Hope mission. Thank you to our brand new batch of amazing, ground running Journey to Hope teachers. You inspire me to continue this mission and become a staple in the Cape Cod community.

Thank you!!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Want to go to Yoga, Now What?

Gucci. Prada. Versace. Michael Kors.

Brand names make a statement. They prove status, wealth and popularity. Even if yoga we find brand names and a need for ego & status. LululemonPranaLucy. Hardtail. Which brings about my all time favorite beginner question: “what do I wear to a yoga class”?

I would be lying if I said I don't have a favorite company in mind, but I would also be lying if I said there are no good clothes without brand names. As a former lululemon employee, I stand behind their clothes AND their manifesto. Their least expensive shirt is actually my favorite and I have it in a few colors (but could always use more – hint, hint!). I love the feel, the fit, the movement and the wicking capabilities. However, “least” expensive is $42 and for anyone on a tight budget, that isn’t a bargain! Don't fret - there are plenty of other places for any yogi to find clothes that are just as great.

For those of you who are new to yoga – and perhaps joining Journey to Hope due to financial strain or a desire for a tighter community – I have plenty of suggestions!

I will start with men, as they always seem to get the short end of the stick in the yoga clothes department. As a woman, there are a few nagging things I would like to point out first.


2)    I am here to practice, not to look at your sweaty body and be distracted by unmentionables as you roll around on your yoga mat.

With that said, I have some suggestions for you so that you are able to practice yoga comfortably without providing distractions to yourself and others.

Shirts: Buy plain cotton T-shirts. Typically, this is plenty to absorb sweat in power yoga and enough to keep you warm in a gentle hatha class. Only girls wear tank tops – please do not wear one.

Pants: Cotton pants are fine for a gentle class. Do not wear pajamas or fleece. Even in a gentle class you will be too hot and sweaty.

Shorts: For a power class you are going to want to wear shorts. Wear spandex biker shorts to “hold yourself together” On top of those, wear loose gym shorts. It looks put together, absorbs sweat and will be comfortable.

Women - we are so easy! Cotton short sleeve tops. Spandex, acrylic, or cotton tank tops. Stretchy yoga pants. Biker shorts. The possibilities are endless.

I suggest TJ Maxx and Marshalls for most body types and ages. Kohls is great, especially if you are top heavy or over a certain age – they have many higher cut tops! If you're in mid price range, some of Victoria's Secret collection can be fun as well.

My tips and suggestions will be more important to you than an actual outfit!

1)    Do NOT wear perfume!
2)    Don’t wear dangling jewelry! Necklaces and earrings often get caught in yoga clothes.
3)    It is not a fashion contest. Be comfortable. Wear clothes that you can move in.
4)    Do not wear low cut tops. Those are for vertical fitness, not yoga!
5)    No socks in class (this goes for men as well)!
6)    Headbands, clips and elastic bands are miracle workers. We flip upside down in class, so make sure you bring something to control your locks!
Outfit - Victoria's SecretOutfit - Victoria's Secret
Bring water, a towel and a mat. (Journey to Hope provides mats, blocks & straps in every class). Most importantly, however, bring a smile and your physical body. With any luck, by the end of class, your mental and spiritual body will be aligned and you’ll have looser hamstrings!

Get out there! Do yoga & make life sparkle!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Magical Mondays...a day late!

What an amazing week!! Sorry this post is a day delayed, but the weekend was so full of fun and adventure that I needed a day to rest.

The most important & exciting aspect of the weekend was our very first teacher training. We held our teacher training at the West Dennis Library on Saturday and it was amazing! All 7 of our new volunteers are well on their way to being ready to teach in our new facilities in January. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such an amazing group of women by my side as we expand further into Cape Cod!

The following day was our 2nd benefit class at mid-cape racquet & tennis club! We raised over $60 and were so excited to see Journey to Hope students join us at the event!!!

In my personal life, I was able to DJ two yogi events this past week and took my birthday cooking class with my mom. We had an absolute blast!! I learned how to roll a Buche du Noelle and the owner of the space told my mom & I that it was the best one he had had in eight years!! Such a wonderful experience learning how to make roast potatoes, veggies, crown pork roast, beef wellington & buche du noelle. Yumm-o!!!

Today has already been full of a water aerobics class, yoga & lots of teaching! Getting stronger and healthier by the day – and so excited to share each moment with you as you learn to take care of yourself as well. It is such a joy to watch people and help lead them towards their own versions of health & wellness.

What is your favorite form of exercise? Other than yoga of course!

Please keep posted, as we are going to have another benefit class on January 4thand would love, love, love to see more faces in the crowd. The next class is atThe Yoga Shack in Marston Mills, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be invited into this brand new space!

I cannot believe this holiday season is already upon us. Please do your best to stay healthy! Move your body, eat what feels best for YOU and have a ball enjoying quality time with your family & friends.

How has your week been magical? I would love to hear the things you love, or the adventures you’ve had this past week!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Forgiveness is Tricky

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It is a word, just like any other, that we throw around. But unlike the word love - which I believe we use carelessly and throw around - I do not believe we use forgiveness enough.

Life is full of mistakes. We are late to work, and late to class. We hurt each others feelings through accidental neglect. Sometimes we make a huge mistake that can ruin a friendship or relationship. We use words like: “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me.” We are hoping that our mistake will be forgiven, but with these words we are usually asking for our counterpart to forget as well, and that is a tall order.
 Last weekend, I was able to attend a class with Peter Crowley at Back Bay Yoga. He is a wonderful and highly recommended teacher in the Boston area. I arrived three minutes late and tried to sneak in quietly – out of breath and obviously not yet able to be fully present. I was extremely embarrassed. I am not only a student, but an instructor, and I understand the importance of arriving on time. I should know better.

After arriving quietly on my mat and joining class, Peter came over to me and gently squeezed my neck to help me release further in a forward fold. This simple touch was not only divine, but an action that made me feel forgiven. Although it was my fault for arriving late in class, Peter had given me permission to be fully present in class by forgiving me right away. The class was such a blessing, as I was able to fully enjoy my practice, being in the moment and being a true student.

As I said, forgiveness is a tricky thing. It is a part of communication, which is a two-way street. If one person says “I’m sorry” and their partner says “You’re forgiven,” it doesn’t always really mean that someone has been forgiven. It doesn’t mean they are truly letting it go. There needs to be a little something extra: a hug, a smile, a gentle assist in class.
Forgiveness is a part of everyday life, but as the holiday season is approaching we should make an extra effort to be careful with our words and actions. We tend to overbook ourselves and leave little time for ourselves and our loved ones. As silly as it sounds, we may see our loved ones more often, but often times we are so busy that we are not truly with them. Spend a few moments each day practicing being in the moment. It will help you to lessen the mistakes and brighten your holiday cheer.

Even if you haven’t made any mistakes lately (lucky you!), get out there and give an extra hug or smile anyway. Perform random acts of kindness. Not only to make one person feel wonderful, but to share joy with them and help them to pay it forward.

Get out there! Do yoga & make life sparkle!